HHS Moves To Defund EcoHealth Alliance, Says Action Needed ‘To Protect The Public Interest’
EcoHealth Alliance President Dr. Peter Daszak appears during a House Select Subcommittee hearing on the Coronavirus Pandemic on Capitol Hill on May 1, 2024 in Washington, DC.
(Photo by Andrew Harnik/Getty Images)

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Biden administration has chosen to defund EcoHealth Alliance, a U.S.-based nonprofit group that has been heavily scrutinized for its collaboration with a lab in Wuhan, China, on bat coronavirus experiments following the start of the COVID pandemic that killed millions of people around the world.

An official with HHS sent an email to Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance, conveying the decision to suspend the group and proposed debarment from federal government procurement and non-procurement programs for a period that usually is up to three years — but could be longer — effective as of May 14.

“HHS believes there is adequate evidence in the record for this debarment cause and that immediate action is necessary to protect the public interest,” the notification said.

The GOP-led House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic, which released the letter and an HHS action referral memo, announced that the agency cited evidence from its May 1 interim staff report looking at evidence surrounding EcoHealth Alliance’s research activities just before Daszak gave testimony for the investigation.

“EcoHealth & Dr. Daszak facilitated gain-of-function research in China without proper oversight & willingly violated multiple requirements of NIH [the National Institutes of Health] grants. They should never again receive a single penny from the U.S. taxpayer,” the panel said in a post to X.

Daszak long denied that EcoHealth violated NIH rules, and former government officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, pushed back on claims that the U.S. agency funded gain-of-function research — in which viruses are manipulated to become more dangerous. The Trump administration pulled funding for EcoHealth, but NIH reinstated a grant — with restrictions — last year.


“EcoHealth Alliance is disappointed by HHS’ decision today and we will be contesting the proposed debarment,” an EcoHealth Alliance spokesperson told The Daily Wire in an email. “We disagree strongly with the decision and will present evidence to refute each of these allegations and to show that NIH’s continued support of EcoHealth Alliance is in the public interest.”

More than 7 million people diagnosed with COVID-19 have died worldwide. The origin of the pandemic became a topic of fierce debate, with two leading theories being there was a natural emergence or a lab leak. Beijing denied being to blame, but State Department records suggest COVID emerged from a “lab-related accident” and the Chinese Communist Party tried to cover it up.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who has driven an inquiry in the upper chamber into Fauci and the pandemic’s origins, responded to the HHS decision by posting to X, “Finally, the Biden Admin. agrees to ban Peter Daszak and EcoHealth Alliance, who financed the gain-of-function research in Wuhan, from getting any more taxpayer $.”

Coronavirus Pandemic Subcommittee Chairman Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) said his panel will continue to investigate EcoHealth and the origins of COVID-19, including efforts to secure outstanding documents from Daszak and his team to answer questions from congressional investigators.

“We will hold EcoHealth accountable for any waste, fraud, and abuse and are committed to uncovering any illegal activity, including lying to Congress, NIH, or the Inspector General,” Wenstrup added in a statement.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  HHS Moves To Defund EcoHealth Alliance, Says Action Needed ‘To Protect The Public Interest’